Andres Serrano Infamous
InfamousOct 23, 2020 - Jan 31, 2021
Infamous is a visual exploration of the long history of deeply rooted racism in the United States. Throughout his illustrious career, Andres Serrano has directly confronted the zeitgeist with provocative works. In this exhibition of over 30 photographs of racist artifacts, he continues to hold a mirror to the nation’s recent, dark past.
The exhibition text is authored by Hamza Walker, Director of LAXART, an independent nonprofit art space in Los Angeles. Walker remarked,“Serrano is an unabashed image-maker, photographing people, places and things from which most of us would rather turn away, whether out of shame, disgust or outright offense.”
On the importance of the exhibition, Walker adds, “While Serrano is none too shy in deploying such hyperbole, in this instance it is offset by photographs of postcards and canned goods, sheet music and rag dolls, a box of nails and a bottle of gin, all reminders of blackface’s journey from stage and screen entertainment to its wholesale proliferation in the form and package design of countless everyday products. And while we want to relegate them to the dustbin of history come again as eBay, we need only look to the recent mea culpa issued by Prada and Gucci to realize those products still have purchase on our present.”
Old Glory I & II, 1920’s American 48 Star Flag © Andres Serrano. Courtesy Galerie Nathalie Obadia Paris:Brussels
In 2019, Andres Serrano began buying and photographing objects with a sense of infamy attached. Serrano acquired KKK hoods, consumer products depicting caricatures of Black people, violent documentary photographs, and more, most of which were previously owned and purchased directly from the homes of Americans. By creating a visual catalog of evidence that includes reductive and virulent portrayals of Black Americans, the artist challenges viewers to confront the country’s racist history and consider its influence on and relevance in culture and society today.
The Perfect Song Featuring Amos N Andy, 1930’s Music Sheet © Courtesy Andres Serrano. Courtesy Galerie Nathalie Obadia Paris:Brussels
On the exhibition, Serrano shares “Infamous is an excavation into Man’s inglorious past. Seen through objects and images that paint a disturbing picture, it’s an exhibition imbued with the patina of tainted history. They tell the story of infamy with varying degrees of bigotry and insensitivity. Although we want to believe that ‘what happened in the past stays in the past’ history proves us wrong.”
Fotografiska New York is proud to partner with the Black Artist Fund (BAF), a nonprofit organization combating systemic inequity in art by providing direct grants to Black artists in the United States. Learn how to help support BAF’s mission for broadening opportunities for and providing grants to Black artists here.
Cotton Picker Corn Whiskey, Vintage Schenley Bottle © Courtesy Andres Serrano. Galerie Nathalie Obadia Paris:Brussels
Dr. David Pilgrim & Andres Serrano, Obsessing About Race: A Conversation About Collecting Racist Objects
Dr. David Pilgrim, Curator of the Jim Crow Museum, in conversation with Artist Andres Serrano on his exhibition, Infamous.
Return of the Repressed: How and Why We Need to Look at Historical Racist Images Today
A conversation with Svetlana Mitcheva, Director of Programs at the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), and artist Andres Serrano.
The Andres Serrano exhibition, Infamous, is now on view in the museum through March 14, 2021.